Day: January 9, 2021

‘Hard Pushed’ by Leah Hazard #BookReview

No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten.
And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers…

Midwives are there for us at some of the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives. From heart-wrenching grief to the pure joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all.

But life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine.

Moving and compassionate, funny and unexpected, Leah shares her experiences in this extraordinary love letter to new mothers and fellow midwives everywhere.

The Covid pandemic has certainly shone a spotlight on the NHS and those that give so much to keep the people of this country safe and well. Underpaid, under-appreciated, overworked, nurses, doctors, midwives and countless others struggle on – criticised in the press and on social media, even accused of lying, given nothing more for their dedication than a round of applause, and yet we still expect them to be there for us when we need them.

Leah Hazard’s account of her time as a midwife plainly shows the pressure the system is under after years of cuts, underfunding and stealthy privatisation. Exhausted, run off their feet, wolfing down microwave meals, these women (and men) are expected to make life and death decisions right there at the business end of things, often without support.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. Hazard uses real life stories to add warmth, humour, love and the joy experienced at the birth of a new life to her story, a happy mum an antidote to the exhaustion. She has a genuine love of her work and of those she guides through giving birth. 

This is an extraordinary book – and Hazard is an extraordinary midwife. With the NHS more stretched now than ever, it’s so important to appreciate how lucky we are in this country. To see the NHS accused of lying about Covid on social media is infuriating. My sister has been a nurse in the NHS for more than thirty years, working as a specialist neo-natal nurse for most of that time. My daughter was a patient in that very unit. Those of us on the ‘outside’ really have such a limited understanding of the pressure, the dedication, of the staff. Books like these bring it to the fore.

A must read.